Thornton Heath residents demand answers after girl killed in gas explosion

Collapsed home in Thornton Heath

A community in south London is searching for answers after a young girl was killed in a suspected gas explosion.

The child is yet to be named, but is believed to be aged four and was injured and killed after a terraced house collapsed on Galpin's Road in Thornton Heath just after 7am on Monday.

Three others were taken to hospital and a fourth person was treated at the scene.

Gas officers attending the scene Credit: Press Association

Residents said they had reported a strong gas smell in the area which had persisted for around two weeks, while others said engineers had been working on the street in recent days to resolve the issue.

Residents were being housed in nearby accommodation by the council, one said that authorities said it could take five to 10 days before they could go home.

There was visible anger among residents during the briefing with Merton Council officers.

Reverend Deji Ayorinde, of the nearby Pollards Hill Baptist Church, said: “There is anger in the room. There is anger in the community surrounding unanswered questions.

Collapsed house from explosion in Thornton Heath

“Who takes ownership for that? The anger has built up because it has now cost a life and that’s a catalyst for the strength of emotion around this," he added.

A 48-year-old, who lives on Galpin’s Road and wished to remain anonymous, said the gas company not turning up to the community centre to answer questions from residents was “disrespectful”.

“They have not been here. Everyone is disgusted. It is heartbreaking, it is disrespectful. They owe it to the people who have supported the family," they added.

Many residents reported feeling dizzy and unwell due to the gas smell on the road.

Gas distribution company SGN, which is the gas emergency service in the area said on Monday:

“Following the explosion in Galpin’s Road, Thornton Heath, earlier today, our deepest sympathies are with the family of the child who has tragically died as well as those who have been injured.

“We’d like to reassure everyone that our engineers are working closely with the emergency services to establish the cause of the explosion. Given the ongoing police investigation, it is inappropriate to comment any further at this stage.”